Just a Matter of Time: Classic Columbia Recordings 1961-1965

Just a Matter of Time: Classic Columbia Recordings 1961-1965

by Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin


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Aretha Franklin's pre-Atlantic recordings for Columbia in the first half of the mid-'60s are usually considered both disappointing in relation to her later, more famous output, and unrepresentative of her best talents. Some soul experts stick up for her Columbia work, though, such as David Nathan, who compiled this CD of two dozen of her more obscure Columbia tracks, two of them previously unreleased. To its credit, this anthology takes care not to duplicate material from the most prominent Franklin Columbia compilation (The Queen in Waiting: The Columbia Years 19610-1965), offering die-hard Aretha fans quite a bit of music that's not easy to come by on reissues. But though the liner notes argue convincingly that Franklin was not (as the impression's often given) forced to record more pop-oriented songs than she should have at Columbia, the fact remains that her Columbia sides -- including the ones on this CD -- just don't measure up to what she did at Atlantic in the late '60s, right after she left the label. Of more importance to the Franklin fan who wants to leave that debate aside and is wondering about this CD in particular, the criticisms often levied against her Columbia work apply to these tracks as well. There are too many pure pop tunes and arrangements for a singer such as Aretha, and her vocals just aren't in remotely the same league as those on her more famous classics, lacking the edge and fire of her Atlantic era. They're not even as good as the most soulful early sides by her sister, Erma Franklin, though Aretha's the significantly superior talent. Only occasionally does she muster something close to a performance that shows her assets in their best light, such as the stirring melodic 1964 ballad "One Step Ahead" and (from the same year) her own composition, "Little Miss Raggedy Ann," where she's bluesier and far less restrained than she is on the vast majority of these tracks. What's more, none of these cuts are as good or earthy as the best of the Columbia outings available elsewhere, like "Lee Cross" and "Soulville." Does that mean this collection is superfluous? No, as at the very least it's historically interesting; the better tracks do show hints both faint and strong of greatness; and the annotation is as top-notch as you'd expect from Ace Records. But it's more for dedicated Aretha Franklin fans than it is for more general admirers of her music.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/06/2009
Label: Kent Records Uk
UPC: 0029667232524
catalogNumber: 325
Rank: 49178

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Aretha Franklin   Primary Artist
Belford Hendricks   Conductor
Robert Mersey   Conductor
Richard Wess   Conductor

Technical Credits

Brook Benton   Composer
Aretha Franklin   Composer
Jay McShann   Composer
John Hammond   Producer
Van McCoy   Composer
Chip Taylor   Composer
Priscilla Bowman   Composer
Belford Hendricks   Arranger,Composer
Bob Johnston   Producer
Buddy Kaye   Composer
Leroy Kirkland   Composer
Robert Mersey   Arranger,Producer
Clyde Otis   Composer,Producer
Jerry Ragovoy   Composer
Ben Raleigh   Composer
Richard Wess   Arranger
Sam H. Stept   Composer
David Nathan   Liner Notes
Tony Rounce   Liner Notes,Memorabilia
Eddie Snyder   Composer
Malcolm Baumgart   Memorabilia
Rudy Clark   Composer
Gilles Petard   Cover Photo
Mick Patrick   Memorabilia
J. Leslie McFarland   Composer
Pearl Woods   Composer
Roy Alfred   Composer
Fred Johnson   Composer
Rob Hughes   Memorabilia
Jimmy Williams   Composer
Larry Harrison   Composer
Art Wayne   Composer
Charles Singleton   Composer
Billy Dawn Smith   Composer
Sean Hampsey   Memorabilia
Philip Stringer   Composer

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